Week-end, Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, Cinémathèque Québécoise, 7 January 2023
I know that this film is supposed to be funny. I know that it’s radical chic, retro now, and forever cool. I also know that it contains complicated tracking shots that make it a significant technical achievement. I get that it’s satire. But what has come to pass is not far off. It seems the ultimate goal of global conflict is essentially a weekend away.
Discuss these and other matters of Godardian concern (en français) at the Cinémathèque’s Roundtable, “Godard aujourd’hui?” 8 February 2023, 17:00h, free admission.
Zoë Mc Pherson, On Fire, Pitch Blender (SFX)
Music more than other artforms orders time. Of course, everything including every form of art exists in time, just like every fish swims in water. Film unfolds in time. Photographs capture it. Dance moves through it. Even paintings, once dry, slow time down to a complete standstill, when we’re standing still in front of them. But music orders and regulates, assembles and reassembles the time we exist in while it is playing, whether the music has a time signature or not, whether it has rhythm or not. Musicians, too, structure time, especially techno musicians.
Time is a strange thing. It appears to move both forward and cyclically at once. Seasons forever turn from one to another. Yet a sense of newness always accompanies them. Just like fashion.
I noted that Zoë Mc Pherson in their press shots for Pitch Blender wear a pair of black techy-looking Diesel trousers circa about 1997. I noted them because I had the same trousers. They were pretty high-grade back in the day. In Canada, a pair of Diesel jeans cost a little over $100; those pants were at least $250. I had to save up. They might have been issued on the cusp of Diesel introducing their short-lived StyleLab line, possibly prototypes for a higher-end, more limited, and more design-oriented kind of collection.
Delighted by Mc Pherson’s pants in the photographs, I emailed an old friend who works in fashion and, acerbically, she wrote back, “Y2K nostalgia is real.” I remember thinking at the time, back in the ‘90s, that those pants with all their snaps and pockets would suit living in some sort of post-apocalyptic world — a compartment for everything necessary for survival.
Sure enough, here we are, in survival-mode. Still, I’m glad that Mc Pherson dug out those particular trousers because it recharged my street cred and rejuvenated my classic wardrobe. Although I don’t have them anymore. They must have at some point disintegrated, along with the future. But I did naturally have the matching jacket in quite good condition and I’ve rescued it from the back of the closet and have been turning heads with it all winter. One more time.
Pitch Blender is released 3 February via SFX.
Julia Dault, Never Odd Or Even, Bradley Ertaskiran, 19 January 2023 – 25 February 2023
The longest palindrome I know is, Go Hang A Salami / I Am A Lasagna Hog. The actor Michael Anderson who portrayed The Man From Another Place on the original Twin Peaks series shared this wonderful palindrome in an interview contained on the extras for season one’s first DVD release. Fans of Twin Peaks sent Anderson palindromes after his backwards-talking character repeated the phrase “Wow Bob Wow” on the show.
Never Odd Or Even is a palindrome as well, which I never would have guessed had the press release for Julia Dault’s solo show, now on at Bradley Ertaskiran and despite the construction worth the visit, explained it. The works aren’t explicitly palindromic to me, but what you can do is start on one side of the gallery and move around to the other side, and then reverse course and rotate backward in the opposite direction, and voilà. A palindrome in action.
Julia Dault Never Odd Or Even continues through 25 February at Bradley Ertaskiran.
Contretemps, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, Soft Power (Safety Records)
Machines are hard and I admire them for that and at times I think that we should become more like them. Like Eddie’s unfurling, drunken diatribe in hurlyburly, either the play or the movie, we should aspire to become things — colder, harder, like rocks, or machines, to ensure our longevity. Machines may get old and break down, but machines do not go soft.
I can attest from personal experience that being soft has never empowered me to do anything, not least the things I want to do, especially those things for which being hard is prerequisite.
Soft Power is released 3 February via Safety Records.
Andy Warhol, Screen Tests, MAC, 17 November 2022 – 10 April 2023
Last February in Houston I went to a screening of a selection of Andy Warhol’s films on 16mm at Rice Cinema. It was my first film in a theatre after the pandemic, and I was excited to see real celluloid snap through a projector once again. But I could not have chosen more challenging material to rekindle a love of movies.
Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. He didn’t just suggest it; it was His divine order. And Jesus knew that if He didn’t command it, nobody would do it. Nobody does it anyway. But that doesn’t make it any less of a command.
It’s easy to love our family and our friends. It’s easy to love our pets. It’s encouraged to love celebrities and public figures whom we’ve never met and don’t care to love us back. But enemies are difficult to love. It’s practically impossible.
I think Andy Warhol made his Screen Tests to build empathy in viewers, to teach us to love, to force us to stare into a stranger’s face (some famous, some not) until it dissolves into abstraction, until the reel runs out and we’re left with nothing but a banana and a beam of light.◼︎
Andy Warhol as seen by Nelson Henricks screens at the Cinémathèque Québécoise January 26 – 28, 2023.